In The News

Engaging Opportunity Youth: Grads of Life Taps Rich Talent Pool

GOL Partnership





With so much focus on closing the skills gap in the U.S. economy, there is renewed energy to expand the talent pool and prepare more Americans for the jobs of the future. While employers need workers with the right skills and competencies, many remain unaware of how to access alternative talent pools they may have missed with traditional hiring practices.

Opportunity youth – the nearly 6 million young adults ages 16-24 who are out of school and not engaged in stable employment – offer employers a rich resource to meet their talent needs. The National Network is partnering with Grads of Life, a national initiative that catalyzes market demand for opportunity youth by transforming employer perceptions and hiring practices.

Although opportunity youth may lack traditional credentials and the networks required to secure jobs with career advancement opportunities, they offer resilience and loyalty – and bring grit to their work. As a result, employers that bring opportunity youth into their talent pipeline report that they are valued and productive employees delivering a range of business benefits to the company.

The National Network and Grads of Life developed a new “Business Case Framework” to help employers think through the value of adopting strategies to access youth talent through partnerships with workforce training organizations. Explore the new tool here, and explore examples, best practices and positive stories from companies working with opportunity youth.